Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

Do you think The free Ecotricity'a network is stifling investment,competition

  • Yes

    Votes: 13 22.8%
  • No

    Votes: 36 63.2%
  • Maybe in the future

    Votes: 8 14.0%

  • Total voters
    57
1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
All this Talk of the future of EV Charging stations got me thinking Does Ecotricity's free charging network prevent others joining the business of rapid charging?

My thoughts

Do Free Rapids Prevent?

1. Investment from other companies
2. New Charging locations due to free ones already available
3. Prevents lack of backup charging as Ecotricity don't have incentive to install adequate number of chargers per location
4. Slow maintenance on Broken rapids, A paid for rapid would probably get fixed quicker due to loss of revenue.
5. Petrol stations installing Rapids? as they cant compete with free!!!
6. The Charging bays are leased to Ecotricity do they have an anti competition clause in the lease agreement's preventing other from competing
7. Are Places where rapids would, could, are, installed loosing out on revenue as they could increase the prices which in turn would increase interest for service stations and petrol stations to lease charging spots to companies.
8. if the government want to incentive us to buy ev's Shouldn't they make the petrol station install Rapids Would it not be better to remove the government grant on new ev sales to fund rapids instead?
9. A monopoly? even if its free
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
I think you will find there is no viable business model at the moment for building such a network, and Ecotricity are effectively doing it at a loss - albeit with support from Nissan, Renault etc. So I don't think it is a case of stifling anything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
If I was BP, SHELL, Esso etc I would start installing a few Rapid chargers at my services as they have the real advantage with locations everywhere and when we do get charged "which we will" they Will be ahead or at least competing with ecotricity
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The
If I was BP, SHELL, Esso etc I would start installing a few Rapid chargers at my services as they have the real advantage with locations everywhere and when we do get charged "which we will" they Will be ahead or at least competing with ecotricity
They probably make more money from the shop rather than the profit on petrol any way so putting in a rapid is a good investment
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,163 Posts
Question - would a paid for Rapid adjacent to some busy free Ecotricity Rapids get worthwhile usage from those who prefer to pay rather than wait for a free Rapid to become available?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
I'm sure they would charge a fortune per kwh too but for convenience just like the ICE drivers who pay for that petrol it wouldn't bother me.
It would certainly get competitive if ecotricity keeps its costs low plus I have a feeling if your an ecotricity customer it will be cheaper still.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,938 Posts
I think you will find there is no viable business model at the moment for building such a network, and Ecotricity are effectively doing it at a loss - albeit with support from Nissan, Renault etc. So I don't think it is a case of stifling anything.
I've run numbers the through a spreadsheet a few times and just can't see how it's possible to make a profit from a rapid charging network unless you are getting a big chunk of cash from the government (or manufacturers) to help with the installation costs. This is especially true when you consider, unlike petrol pumps, that current rapid chargers are likely to be obsolete in 5 years and need replacing.

If it costs £50k to purchase and install a rapid and you want you get back your costs and make 3% a profit over a 5 year period then you need to make at least £32 a day after costs. If you divide that number by what people consider to be a reasonable cost per charge, say £5, then subtract the cost of electricity you need an almost impossibly high utilisation rate to make the numbers work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
I've run numbers the through a spreadsheet a few times and just can't see how it's possible to make a profit from a rapid charging network unless you are getting a big chunk of cash from the government (or manufacturers) to help with the installation costs. This is especially true when you consider, unlike petrol pumps, that current rapid chargers are likely to be obsolete in 5 years and need replacing.

If it costs £50k to purchase and install a rapid and you want you get back your costs and make 3% a profit over a 5 year period then you need to make at least £32 a day after costs. If you divide that number by what people consider to be a reasonable cost per charge, say £5, then subtract the cost of electricity you need an almost impossibly high utilisation rate to make the numbers work.
Why are so many pushing the desire to be charged £5 or more for a rapid charge, yet have a vendetta against Chargemaster?

Currently an average rapid charge with Chargemaster, is less than £2, provided you subscribe to their card (£8 per month, or 1.5 rapid charges a month if you pay £5 or more per charge!). They are a private company, and still seem to be coining it no end.

Before I get flak for being a Chargemaster lover, I am not at all keen on them, they change things without any warning or consultation with their customers - but they are offering charging at a lesser rate that the general price being suggested by many on this forum.

Ecotricity are great. They have done a great job, I have rapid charged hundreds of times with them, at dozens of places, and only had to wait more than a minute or two on maybe ten occasions. There are a few notorious places where queues do form, but 95% of their chargers are virtually queue free, in my experience.

Yes, no doubt charging will come in at some point, but Ecotricity don't need to be pushed into it. After all, their electricity customer base has increased by an enormous amount due to the exposure they get with their charging network. Why would they need to rush into charging?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
Your point 4 is an interesting one. After my failed day today trying to use the AC side of their Rapids at Woodall and Trowell services (all of which have had numerous faults registered on plugshare and zap map), I wonder if we were paying for the services, whether they would have been out of action for so long...

I would have gladly paid for a charge today, and had the first rapid working I plugged into, rather than waste an hour of my day travelling about, off my route by some distance, just to be able to charge successfully!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,792 Posts
In my view the Ecotricity network is encouraging the update of BEVs. Without them only Teslas and PHEVs would be seen on long distance motorway runs.

The uptake of EVs in turn encourages investment in charging networks and there are still many many 'A' roads and cities and towns that lack rapid charging infrastructure. So there are plenty of opportunities for charging companies to establish.

Ecotricity face two key decisions one) when to start charging and two) does further investment concentrate on increasing established capacity at service stations or much improved geographical coverage onto the A roads as the top priority.

My hunch is that increasing capacity at motorway service stations will come before starting charging for use and only when there is a steady volume demand being serviced that can absorb the overheads of running payment systems. Then after the introduction of charging Ecotricity can deploy funds for the A road network that will be in turn be like the early motorway network i.e. under-used for some time, but not free. The A road under-use will last until EV sales get to several percent of new cars each year.

Charging costs away from home that the market will bear away will be controlled ultimately by the cost of batteries. It may not be a viable commercial model for charging operators to be able to beat on cost a big battery and home charging. If it gets more expensive for frequent public charging you just spend the money on a bigger battery in the car instead. If public charging is cheap or public charging use is light then you will be happy to not buy a large battery. But only if you can cope with the extra time and hassle of public charging during a journey.

Having to running several separate monthly subscriptions to charging networks bears a striking resemblance to the much disliked battery leasing. Since mileages are so variable across users, the flexibility of PAYG has to come to match the current accepted fossil fuel filling station model.

So leisure no-rush motoring and low mileage users will tend to smaller batteries but the road warrior and time pressed longer distance traveller or higher weekly mileage will prefer the bigger battery EV. Two BEV groupings could emerge the 30+ kWh car and the 60+ kWh car with PHEVs as a filler between them and also for short range EV miles with a sub-20 kWh battery on board until the charging network is mature. PHEVs are here to stay especially in the form of mild hybrids (48v system) in smaller B segment cars with ICEs bigger than REXs but smaller than current city ICE cars. PHEVs will be with us as long as there are doubts about the charging network coverage, reliability, capacity and cost. That will be a long time in the UK looking at the current rate of progress.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,591 Posts
As some one has already mentioned Ecotricity's setup is NOT sustainable, and NOT good enough. Tesla only have a hand full of charging destinations, but even with barely 3000 cars on UK roads they are busy expanding the number of charging bays to ensure redundant charging capacity is in place to avoid ques/charger failure. When do we think the first 6 charger Ecotricty bay will appear??

My last experience of trying to Ecotricity chargers had a 100% failure rate from 4 different 'pumps'. Free or not that kind of unreliability makes the Ecotricity network about as dependable/reliable as the local politicians :).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,026 Posts
The business case for providing a rapid charging network has always been almost impossible, if you were to have dragons den the idea years ago I would doubt there would have been any takers.

The way I see it is its only going to get less practical because the newer cars coming online in the next few years will reduce the need for rapid charging for many, even with the increase in new ev drivers, With the recent 60kwh announcement from Chevrolet with the bolt this will force arms for others to make longer range cars.

I am glad that Ecotricty and Nissan have created the network but worry about its long term viability, they are only there because of the relatively poor energy storage of batteries, cell prices are coming down and capacity is going up, I for one would not be buying shares in this sector.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,163 Posts
There will always be a case for Rapid chargers, even if they have to charge premium prices. This is because most people wish to do a small number of journeys per year which are considerably longer than their average daily driving distance. If they are being logical, with current battery costs they will choose a car with a battery which can deal with their normal daily driving distance with a reasonable amount to spare, and for the few long journeys each year they will be prepared to pay premium prices for a Rapid (or use a Rex), as this will be cheaper than buying a bigger battery whose full capacity will only be used on a few days each year.

Looking at my daily record of miles driven in my Leaf, I see that I average around 25-40 miles for each day the Leaf has been driven, but the current maximum in a day is 190 miles (and I am planning a trip of about 240 miles). The 60-80 mile range of a 2-year old Leaf with a nominal 24kWh battery (I think the practical capacity is around 20kWh) is sufficient for my normal use, and I am currently averaging about one Rapid charge per month (although I have had four in one day).
 

·
Conflicted Ecoworrier/Petrolhead
Joined
·
3,225 Posts
Dead simple - I have spoken to several manufacturers of charging equipment - and there are dozens of compnies looking to invest, but will not do so until Ecotricity start charging for their network.

If the EH wasn't free we might have 5x more rapids by now (and a bit of a bloodbath of price drops and mergers) but that's what competition should be like.

Not "Here's a free network that is 90% operational Like it or lump it.".

Some big companies are willing to take a loss to get market share, but not with a zero revenue model.

So if you think Ecotricity are wonderful and doing us all a favour - think again. Yes it's great they have managed to stitch up the whole network and great they can afford to run at a loss. But' it would be nice to see someone else doing the same on a few of the sites but with ABB chargers that can charge DC50 and AC22 concurrently from the same unit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Thermostat9

·
The best there is at what I do
Joined
·
10,659 Posts
Dead simple - I have spoken to several manufacturers of charging equipment - and there are dozens of compnies looking to invest, but will not do so until Ecotricity start charging for their network.

If the EH wasn't free we might have 5x more rapids by now (and a bit of a bloodbath of price drops and mergers) but that's what competition should be like.

Not "Here's a free network that is 90% operational Like it or lump it.".

Some big companies are willing to take a loss to get market share, but not with a zero revenue model.

So if you think Ecotricity are wonderful and doing us all a favour - think again. Yes it's great they have managed to stitch up the whole network and great they can afford to run at a loss. But' it would be nice to see someone else doing the same on a few of the sites but with ABB chargers that can charge DC50 and AC22 concurrently from the same unit.
I'd be happy if they had CCS chargers on all of their sites, apparently they have no plans to retrofit charge sites that do not have CCS capability but will add it if they add additional chargers.

With the i3 it's unfair to hog a Type 2 Fast charger for a couple of hours, wouldn't be so bad if the CCS chargers were reliable but they aren't that reliable yet, it took Ecotricity/ABT almost 9 months to sort out the problem with the Oxford Wheatley Services.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,736 Posts
I think without goodwill and government grants nobody would invest in Charging stations. There is no business model there is no profit. Say 20,000 EV's prepared to pay. Most charging would be at home say you get £100/year off every one that is £ 2,000,000 no way would 10 times that support anything but a very small charging network. Take the future into account and longer range batteries will mean the network is not used as much. Today with the current batteries 90% of journies are local so charging at home would be the preferred model and using the charging network only when absolutely required. Say every car charged 10% of the time at charging stations thats an average of 1200 miles which is 300 kWh/year at maximum domestic rate thats 300 x 0.15 = £45 / year just not feasible at all.

Richard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
563 Posts
I'd be happy if they had CCS chargers on all of their sites, apparently they have no plans to retrofit charge sites that do not have CCS capability but will add it if they add additional chargers.

With the i3 it's unfair to hog a Type 2 Fast charger for a couple of hours, wouldn't be so bad if the CCS chargers were reliable but they aren't that reliable yet, it took Ecotricity/ABT almost 9 months to sort out the problem with the Oxford Wheatley Services.
On the phone with Ecotricty today I was told that "they view CCS as the more dominant charge point in the UK"... Reassuring to know when I need a type 2 at the min...
 

·
Conflicted Ecoworrier/Petrolhead
Joined
·
3,225 Posts
I presume thats based on the ratio of Leafs and Outlanders VS i3s and Golfs ;-)
 
  • Like
Reactions: richtrash
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Top